In praise of failed diplomacy

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning, Bill Holm is mourning the loss of Senator Wellstone “to say no to the approaching madness.” He invokes the words of Niall Ferguson regarding World War I to condemn support for the war against Iraq as “the same old patriotic gore from 1914[.]” He doesn’t make much of an argument, but I believe him when he says that he misses Senator Wellstone’s voluble expression of this purportedly high-minded train of…let’s call it thought: “When needed most, the voice that could say ‘no’ is gone.” One has to read all the way to the end to find Holm asserting that the day of Wellstone’s death ranks second only to September 11 as America’s “unluckiest day.” In my case, anyway, the approaching madness has something to do with Bill Holm and his ilk.
Meanwhile, Niall Ferguson himself weighs in at the New York Times with a considerably different view of affairs. Funny, he doesn’t even mention World War I in connection with the war we are in. Instead, he reviews the events of the 1930’s in much the way I suggested yesterday, comparing France’s role then and now. In the manner of Tom Friedman, he concludes with recommendations for the Bush administration’s future course of action that suggest some current disagreement with it, but he presents not one iota of evidence that the administration’s actions are inconsistent with his recommendations: “In praise of failed diplomacy.”


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